Cuts to subsidies hit electric car interest in Shropshire
Enthusiasm for electric cars has dampened in Shropshire and Mid Wales following government cuts to subsidies from November 2018.
Discounts on fully and partially electric cars from the Department for Transport were cut from £4,500 to £3,500.
The Renewable Energy Association, which lobbies on behalf of renewable energy companies, says lower cash incentives for green cars has taken its toll, mostly among plug-in hybrid vehicles. In March, there were 247 vehicles registered in Telford and Wrekin, up from 188 in the same month last year – a 31 per cent increase.
But it was lower than the 39 per cent rise registered between 2017 and 2018. In the Shropshire Council area, there was an 80 per cent rise in electric vehicles registered between 2017 and 2018 but only a 44 per cent increase in the year ending March 2019. By March this year, there were 832.
In Powys, there were 216 registered electric vehicles in March, up from 154 the year before.
That’s a 40 per cent increase from March last year, lower than the 44 per cent rise registered between 2017 and 2018.
The latest Department for Transport statistics show the number of registered electric or plug-in hybrid cars, vans and micro-cars, called quadricycles.
Across the UK, the number of plug-in electric cars rose by 38 per cent over the last year, the smallest increase since the Government started offering subsidies for purchasing green vehicles in 2011, and much lower than the 150 per cent increase in 2015.
Stuart Pocock, chief operating officer at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The removal of the plug-in car grant has unsurprisingly had a negative impact on the sale of electric vehicles. However, the majority of the decrease can be attributed to the decrease in the sale of hybrid vehicles.
“The overall growth slowdown of electric vehicles could signal a move away from petrol and diesel hybrids towards the greater uptake of battery electric vehicles.
“If we are to improve air quality and reach net zero emissions by 2050 we need to speed up the move towards battery electric vehicles and a rise in the sale of these signals a step in the right direction.”
One advantage electric car users have over other vehicles is that they do not have to pay road tax, as they do not release any emissions.
Electricity is also far cheaper than petrol and diesel, and green drivers have the satisfaction of helping save the planet.
Plug-in vehicles still make up a tiny percentage of the cars on the roads across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.